As of December 22, 2022, Orange County has been moved up to the HIGH COVID-19 Community Level according to the latest metrics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) announced today. Combined with a surge in respiratory viruses and the onset of flu season, the HCA reminds residents that it is critical to follow preventive measures, including remaining up to date with vaccinations such as flu and COVID-19, to reduce the severity of disease and to help lessen the burden on hospitals.
“With the expanding COVID-19 community spread, there is a higher risk for more individuals to catch COVID-19, especially during the holidays when families are gathering,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, County Health Officer and the HCA’s Chief Medical Officer. “As people spend more time indoors and with loved ones, these viruses will spread. We know it’s frustrating to continuously hear about the preventive measures, but they work when followed and can help to protect each other from serious illness.”
The HCA recommends residents take preventative actions to minimize the risk of severe illness and advises the following:
- Get fully vaccinated including the updated bivalent booster (now available for 6 months and up, Learn more) to maximize your immunity against COVID-19 & flu. Visit https://myturn.ca.gov/ to schedule a vaccine.
- Wear a well-fitting mask as an added layer of protection.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick or confirmed with COVID-19.
- If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick, consider self-testing to detect infection before contact, and consider wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.
- If you recently attended a high-risk event, traveled, or came into close contact with someone who has COVID-19, self-monitor for symptoms and get tested. If you are sick or test positive follow the self-isolation guidance.
Patients exposed to COVID-19 or who test positive for COVID-19 should contact their health care provider about available therapeutic medications or locate a Test to Treat site. Act fast to seek COVID-19 treatment as treatment must begin within 5-7 days of when symptoms start. Treatments are now widely available for COVID-19 and are free, like the Paxlovid pill which is safe and effective for preventing COVID-19 illness from becoming serious, can lead to testing negative sooner, and may lower the risk of long COVID.
Call your health care provider or an urgent care center or connect to a free telehealth provider today by visiting FREE Virtual COVID-19 Visit for Californians Ages 12 and Up (sesamecare.com) or by calling (833) 686-5051.
For more information on COVID-19 information and resources, including case counts, vaccination, and testing in Orange County, visit ochealthinfo.com/covid.